2022 Young Architects Award

Emerging talent deserves recognition. The AIA Young Architects Award honors individuals who have demonstrated exceptional leadership and made significant contributions to the architecture profession early in their careers.

Eric Pros, AIA

Eric Pros, AIA, is a community builder as much as he is an architect. He truly embodies the spirit of an emerging generation of architects who have recognized that they must serve as trusted advisors, community activists, and champions for design excellence. Through his many leadership roles and as an artist and educator, Pros envisions new opportunities for innovative collaborations and inspires his colleagues and peers.

Pros is the director of design for Cleveland’s DS Architecture, where his penchant for a collaborative design process has advanced the firm’s creative culture. His process involves professionals from all disciplines, fostering an open and iterative method that provides compelling solutions for complex problems. Pros has led his team in designing numerous notable projects over the past decade, including the new Kent Police Station that nimbly responds to the needs of its community and students attending Kent State University. True to form, Pros also graduated from the Kent’s Citizen Police Academy.

“Eric and I collaborated on the Kent Police Building at DS Architecture in 2015. That project had a difficult site, a challenging client, and a public image challenge,” wrote Griffin K. Morris, AIA, in support of Pros’ nomination for the Young Architects Award. “Naturally, Eric saw the opportunity for a hat trick. He turned the client into an architecture fan after educating her on the benefit of good design and natural light. He turned a 20-foot elevation drop across a site into an incredible public stair, creating a community gathering space.”

"He truly embodies the spirit of an emerging generation of architects who have recognized that they must serve as trusted advisors, community activists, and champions for design excellence."

In his community, Pros continuously searches for opportunities to gather creative minds as a way to improve the lives of others by elevating public spaces. He was instrumental in assembling a diverse team of artists to reshape the identity of Lakewood, Ohio, through a public art installation that would activate its West End neighborhood. In addition, since 2012 he has chaired Kent’s Grill For Good festival, raising more than $10,000 each year to support the city’s underprivileged residents.

Pros actively finds opportunities to explore new relationships with AIAS members, hoping to form a stronger community between architectural education and practice. In 2017, he launched the annual AIA Kent/AIA Akron Napkin Sketch Competition, in which students and practitioners celebrate their shared passion for communicating ideas through sketches. The program has steadily grown and even maintained a virtual presence during the COVID-19 pandemic.

As an educator, Pros’ goal is to inform a studio culture in which students approach design challenges with optimism. He has been an adjunct instructor at Kent State University’s College of Architecture and Environmental Design for nearly a decade, leading design studio and digital application courses. He often infuses studio projects with real-world implications and relies on his strong AIA relationships to connect students with practitioners.

“As a professor of practice at Kent State University’s College of Architecture and Environmental Design (CAED), I understand and appreciate the delicate balance between teaching and practice. Eric, in his instructor role at the CAED, has come to recognize that the ‘learning’ part of that equation is as much for him as it is for his students,” Elizabeth Corbin Murphy, FAIA, said of Pros in a letter. “He has already learned that it is his role to inspire the next generation of architects, to use his talents to spark theirs, and to cajole the students to escalate their connections with their mentors, with their communities, and even with their own talents.”

Image credits

Eric Pros-02

Felicia Lewis Photograph

Eric Pros-03

Justin Gleason

Eric Pros-04

Bridget Tipton

Eric Pros-05

Scott Pease Photography

Eric Pros-06

Eric Pros